Emancipatory practice and testing new forms

This is an illustration of the Morant Rebellion in 1865 where Jamaican rebels challenged the limited notion of freedom offered by capitalism, being emancipated from slavery only to work on sugar plantations as waged slaves. They fought for an idea of freedom that meant having your own land to farm and work and organise social life in whatever way an individual or community wished.

Quoting Stavrides (2018, pp347) again:

“If emancipation has to do with the envisioning and testing of specific forms of social organization, possible spaces (understood as imagined arrangements or as specific possible sites) may become the means of both envisioning and testing those forms.”

In the context of the Web and virtual space, possible space provides the means to break from behaviours related to the current socio-technical system and 3rd party services, and imagine and test new forms of working online.

Coventry.Domains and microsite Learn were imagined to propose that all should have access to the means of Web production as well as the agency to learn on the Web in such a way that does not necessitate working under surveillance capitalism. The initiative also aims to advance the argument that educators and students should have the means to envision and test new forms of working and collaborating online.

The Learn resource includes guides on accessibility, privacy and copyright to build understanding of how other spaces on the Web potentially operate, and encourage reflection and active decision making on how an individual might govern a Web space and have the freedom to make use of the space for both the benefit of themselves and others.

Image: ‘The Jamaica Insurrection: Volunteers Firing On The Mob’, illustration of the Morant Bay rebellion by William Heysham Overend (1851-1898). From Cassell’s Illustrated History of England (1905), vol. IX, p150. Kindly contributed to Internet Archive by University of California Libraries.